This study used a qualitative approach to explore family physicians' beliefs, attitudes, and practices regarding the integration of patient spirituality into clinical care. Participants included family medicine residents completing training in the Southwest USA. The qualitative approach drew upon phenomenology and elements of grounded-theory. In-depth interviews were conducted with each participant. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded using grounded-theory techniques. Four main themes regarding physicians' attitudes, beliefs, and practices were apparent from the analyses; (1) nature of spiritual assessment in practice, (2) experience connecting spirituality and medicine, (3) personal barriers to clinical practice, and (4) reflected strengths of an integrated approach. There was an almost unanimous conviction among respondents that openness to discussing spirituality contributes to better health and physician-patient relationships and addressing spiritual issues requires sensitivity, patience, tolerance for ambiguity, dealing with time constraints, and sensitivity to ones "own spiritual place." The residents' voices in this study reflect an awareness of religious diversity, a sensitivity to the degree to which their beliefs differ from those of their patients, and a deep respect for the individual beliefs of their patients. Implications for practice and education are discussed.
- Family physicians
- Integrative care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health